Tag Archives: Storm

Hero of the Week Award: November 2, First Responders

2 Nov

Hero of the Week

Amidst the horrific devastation that Hurricane Sandy wrought in the Northeastern U.S., thousands of men and women are quiet heroes. “Just doing their jobs,” these first responders and supporting personnel help to make sense of the chaos. They work hard to minimize the impact of the storm on the lives of millions. Fire fighters, EMTs, police, and others band together, efficiently doing the work they have trained to do.

Natural disasters bring untold consequences. The wind damage and flooding that are obvious blend with fires, power outages, injuries, separated families, and a host of other problems. First responders rush into the bedlam, often risking their own health and safety, to make things better for everyone. They deserve our thanks and praise.

In light of the coming election, it is worth noting two things that should be evident but are often overlooked. Almost without exception, these are government jobs. They are paid for by our taxes and are a perfect example of why individual investment in systems that serve everyone are so important. Local governments alone cannot cope on this scale, so having well-funded, organized state and federal systems in place is also critical. Michael Brown, infamous failed FEMA director under George W. can whine all he wants about the “too speedy” response of the Obama administration. It was, in fact, a perfect example of how governments at all levels should work together to make the best of a bad situation.

It is also worth noting that most of these first responders have union organized workplaces. The fact that they are well trained, well equipped, provided with guidelines for work hours and safety, and paid something remotely close to the value of their work arises from that simple fact. The Scott Walkers of the world can complain all they want about the evils of public unions. All those served by these brave people should strenuously object, wondering what their fates might have been in an underfunded response model. Elections have consequences, and what Sandy could have done is a good illustration of where  some politicians want to take this country.

Thanks again to the heroes who serve quietly and powerfully. Your dedication, commitment, and service are shining examples of our nation at its finest.

Honorable mention this week goes to Bob Crowder, a long-time Florida Republican. Crowder, sick of the loony Tea-stained fringe that has taken over his party, mounted a primary challenge to Rep. Allen West, one of the worst of the bunch. (Now THAT takes some doing!) Crowder lost his bid to unseat West in the primaries. This week, he did something remarkable and powerful: he endorsed the Democrat, Patrick Murphy. Murphy would be a great Congressman, and taking down West would be icing on the cake. Crowder, who is the sheriff of Martin County, sums up his view nicely.

As a Republican for over 30 years, I’m embarrassed by the radical fringe that has taken over the party. Sadly, Allen West is their poster child, and the hateful, divisive comments he’s made throughout this campaign make it clear to me he’s the wrong choice for our district.

Thank you, Sheriff Crowder, for standing up for the best candidate and putting the needs of your fellow Floridians ahead of mere partisanship.

Free From Gender Stereotypes (?)

23 May

As a prepubescent boy, I remember watching a PBS special about gender and how from the moment we are born people force gender stereotypes upon us.  The special I watched back in the 1970s even reported that assigning a blue or pink blanket to a newborn is already fraught with expectations for that respective gender.  Somehow I knew in my heart this to be true and thus the PBS special really resonated with me.

Now as a middle aged man who focuses on gender identity/conformity and issues around sexual orientation I am even more concerned with how children grow up and the expectations adults thrust upon them.  I came across an article about a couple with a precious, beautiful baby named Storm.  The couple, David and Witterick, have decided to keep Storm’s gender a secret for now.  Storm will be raised without gender expectations or stereotypes.  Witterick, Storm’s mothers says:

When the baby comes out, even the people who love you the most and know you so intimately, the first question they ask is, ‘Is it a girl or a boy?…If you really want to get to know someone, you don’t ask what’s between their legs.

I applaud David and Witterick and can only imagine how liberating it must be for Storm to grow up as a human being and blossom into the gender that is appropriate for Storm.  Here I think it is appropriate to underscore the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity.  While there is some overlap between gender identity and sexual orientation, the two are quite different. I am cisgendered, which means that my brain and emotions match my physical gender.  Someone who is transgendered the physical does not match up with the brain and emotions.  Storm will grow up with out any pressure from the family as to gender identity.  When one looks at the statistics of how many transgendered people endure bullying, the correlation between bullying and suicide, depression and contracting STDs, the need to grow up without expectations around gender is imperative for the health and safety of our youth. I’m hopeful and happy for Storm.  Click here to see the full story.

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